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What Dating a Good Man Teaches you

I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 but ended up going on my fist date 3 months before my birthday. This was because the guy was moving out of state and my parents reluctantly allowed me to go. I am 42 now and have never been married. That’s a lot of dating. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of relationships. And I have learned a lot over the years.

My current boyfriend is amazing.  He doesn’t play games. He actually puts forth the effort and tells me, on a daily basis, that I am beautiful and amazing and totally worth it. I am thriving under the light of his wonderful attention and affection.  I wonder how I forgot that this is what dating is supposed to be, that this is how I am supposed to be treated? My current relationship is teaching me things that I didn’t realize I had forgotten. Like how I should be treated.

Somewhere along the way, dating became more of a game than a pleasure.  It seems that it’s about getting all that you can, when you can, while putting forth as little effort as you can.  When we women have men with this attitude from which to choose, we get discouraged by the lack of options and try to choose the lessor of many evils.

Ladies, Steve Harvey has it right – when a man really wants you, there will be no question. I think back to all those guys that used to drive me crazy making me wonder if they were really interested. Or that I was doing something wrong. Maybe that was the reason why they weren’t calling like they said they would, or didn’t seem interested, or would make an ambiguous date, then never follow through.

Stop wondering. Because if you have to wonder if he is interested, then the answer is No.  It doesn’t matter if you call or text him.  If he wanted to be with you, he would have already set up the date.

Easier said than done, right?  Because we are taught that if we have these high expectations, then we are demanding, and bitchy, and manipulative. No, we just know our worth.

I have had men who would text me (first of all, call the woman) and ask me to go out lunch that day…when I would accept and ask where…they wouldn’t respond. Until a few weeks later when it’s the same thing all over again. No, he didn’t get too busy, his phone didn’t break, he wasn’t sucked into a vortex where no communication was possible.  He just wasn’t really interested. So why text at all?  Who knows.  Maybe he wanted to keep that door open, or wanted an ego boost. He definitely didn’t want to go to lunch.

The guy I dated before my current boyfriend actually made me feel guilty if I even thought about asking him to help me with anything – He was healing from a woman who used him 3 years ago, so he couldn’t do anything for me.  I made the mistake of saying he could use my boat anytime he wanted if he would let me use his truck to pull my boat to the marina. I was promptly accused of making my boat and all maintenance his responsibility. If a man in interested in you, there will no excuses or strange accusations. If a man is interested, he will want to spend time with you, and he will care enough to help out when you need it.

My current boyfriend is amazing.  He sees projects that I cannot do myself, and he fixes them. I don’t even have to ask.  He just rented a Rug Doctor and cleaned the carpets in my house because my family is coming to visit.  And because he said I “should live in pretty.” Wow, what a difference.

I have dated men who refused to introduce me to any friends and family, while telling me how much they liked and cared for me.  My current boyfriend has introduced me to all of his friends and family. Because he wants me in his life, because he wants me to see from who and where comes. And he is interested in meeting my friends and family too. He wants to know my people. And a man who is truly  interested in you, will want to know your world and your people too.

There was a man who made a date on Easter with me….and was a no show.  Contacted me a few weeks later like everything was fine.  Then there are the guys who just wanted me to “come over and hang out”, but were never willing to drive to see me, or take me out.  Stay away from them, they are lazy and place no value on you or your time.

I think back on all the times I questioned if I was doing something wrong?  Women are taught that if you keep getting disappointed in dating, you are the one common factor.  So take a look in the mirror and find your fault. Well, it wasn’t me, it was them. Mostly. The only thing I wasn’t doing, in my worn and weary and discourage mindset, was remembering my worth. Because I didn’t want to seem demanding, or high maintenance, or bitchy, or unreasonable.

The man I am with now, expects me to know my worth, because he sees it every time he looks at me. And he makes sure I know how lucky he feels. And I am lucky too. Because finally, here is a man who sees what I didn’t see in myself for a long time. Dating a good man has reminded me that first and foremost, I am worth it.

Every day I am so very grateful that this wonderful man found his way into my life.

Because I am demanding, and high maintenance and bitchy and unreasonable…But only to those men who are not interested enough to do anything but put forth the least amount of effort possible.

And that is what dating a good man can teach you.

The Friendhsip Contract

I Will hate the same people you hate, and re-like them as you do.

Unless it is some jerky boyfriend. Then I reserve the right to not like him, but pretend to like him for your sake. And I will secretly hope a piano falls on his head. I also reserve the right to make faces behind him when you are talking to him, or “accidently” kick him under the table.

I will always be honest about how you look.

I will never let you leave the house for work/date/social event if you do not look great. I will not ever be mean about it, but I will make sure you never leave the house in anything that makes you look fat. I will also always tell you if you have something stuck in your teeth or have something hanging out of your nose. I will also tell you if you have “that leak” around your time of the month.

I will always know your cycle

and have appropriate feminine products at my house and in my purse so you are never stranded without. I do reserve the right to make fun of you for still using maxi pads.

I will keep your secrets

and only joke about them when no one is around…or when no one will get the reference.

I will have your favorite snacks at my house

If there is a break up involved I will haul ass to the store to make sure I have your favorite ice cream, chocolate snacks and alcoholic beverage beverages.

Help clean your house when it is dirty.

When you are going through a rough time, are super busy. I will come and help clean your house. I will also help set up then clean up after parties.  I will also co-chair all of your parties/events with you. And if your house is not available for your events, my house will be open.

But I can always ditch you

if there is a chance for incredible, hot, amazing sex. Especially if it is with that hot guy that I have had a crush on forever. But I must make it up to you by telling him you are my best friend, that I love you dearly and I must give you appropriate details the next day.

I will help you pack and Move.

This is a big part of the friendship contract. Anytime you move, no matter how many times, I will be there to help pack and move it. I will help you move out of the boyfriends, out of the bad apartment with bugs, out of the bad roommate situation. I will hate it, especially if you have not packed much before I get there, but I will be there.

Buy candy that your kids sell for school.

And wrapping paper, and jewelry, and popcorn and…whatever. All of it, until I have a closet of useless stuff that your kids of sold. I will also take care of your kids if you die.

Drink with you.

I promise to be there with wine, beer or whatever adult beverage of your choice for whatever occasion is needed. I will also pay for your drinks and or dinner if you are broke.

I will watch your pets while you are on vacation,

No matter how strange, big, weird or unfriendly they are. I will come over and feed your dog, change your cats litter box, talk to your snake, make sure your hamster, goldfish, iguana, bird are all OK. But I can make fun of you for having such weird pets.

We borrow each others clothes.

All the time. And if I really like a sweater of yours, I can always keep it in my closet and you can come and visit it on occasion. And even though we still call it your sweater, you will understand that is really is mine now.

Hold you hair back when you get sick,

And put a cold rag on your forehead and help.you in and out of bed. Whether it’s the flu or a bad hang over, I will be there.

Listen to your problems, over and over and over.

And over. But I will give you a kick in the pants when you need it. You have the right to be shitty for a certain period of time. But beyond that, I will tell you when you need to get it together.

I will defend you to anyone who does not like you.

And I will refuse to like them. Ever.

Tell you to keep your Susie-Stalker crazy self in a box.

It’s Ok to be Susie-Stalker with your best friends, but not to that hot guy. Keep it in a box and stay in your lane.

Facebook stalk the guys you like with you.

And I will agree that they look hot and the things they “Like” are compatible with yours.

Check on your boyfriend after a fight for you.

When you have a bad fight and you want to check and make sure he is either at his house, his guy hang out bar, or the office, I will drive by his stomping ground and report back to you.

Pick you up at any time of the day or night

When you are too drunk to make it home, when you are sick, when your car dies in the middle of nowhere.

Not get mad at you for taking me for granted.

If you don’t say thank you, don’t call me back or disappear because you fell in love, I promise to pick things up right where they left off when you resurface. It would be nice if you did send a text or email every now and then just to touch base.

I will listen to you lament about your latest crush and/or broken heart.

I will help you plan drunk revenge schemes and promise to hide the bodies in the trunk until we bury them. In the words of the Dixie Chicks, Earl Had to Die.

To never let you leave with that hot guy, no matter how hot he is, in a bar.

I will hunt you down and take you from his car if I have to to make sure you do not end up a headline on the news. We girls have to watch out for each other.

How to Learn to Let your Light Shine

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” — Alain D. Button

 Swiss-born/British writer, philosopher, television presenter and entrepreneur, Alain D. Button was truly onto something we he said the above quote. If we are constantly developing and learning as human beings, when we look back at all we did not know in the past year, we will be struck by how ignorant we were. Conversely we should be proud of all we have learned in the past year, how we have developed and grown. As long are we are learning, we are growing. When we stop learning, or being open to learning new things about ourselves, others, the world world around us, then we become stagnant.

One of the thing I am most embarrassed about , is that I dimmed my light to encourage another to shine. This has taught me a valuable lesson.

As a human, I want to encourage others. I want to help others see their potential, raise self esteem and help build them up. And it’s not completely altruistic either, it makes me feel good as well. But what I started doing with my last ex boyfriend, was to dim my own light so that he felt better about himself.  This, in retrospect did not help either one of us.

For example, we went hiking at a local spot called Amicolola Falls and had a bet – whoever could hike the longest would win. He was 51, 12 years younger than I. We hiked up and down the stairs 3 times, and while both of us were tired, I knew I could go several more times. I was a healthy 39 year-old and a runner, so I was good. But his ego was very fragile, he had a big ego and I thought he might have trouble dealing with a girl who could beat him so badly. He was a very sore loser.

So when he suggested we race downhill, and the first one to the finish line would win I agreed. He was 5’11”, had long longs and a long stride that I knew would better handle the very steep down hill slope while running, than my short 5’2″ frame. He started off fill speed, while I lightly jogged down, letting him win. I knew it was important to him, so I pretended to be slower.

The result was pretty disastrous. It was not a great evening that I had after loosing the bet, and he was not kind. The whole time bragging how he beat me. He needed a weaker woman in order to feel more like a man. I never told him I let him win, and I should have. actually, I should not have let him win in the first place.

He was a math major in school, and prided himself on his mathematical prowess. I do math in my head, very quickly. But I found myself pretending not to know the answers in order to let him feel like he was superior to me. I pretended to be a lot dumber than I actually was, so as not too offend him. When I did correct him, he would get offended. I should never have dumbed myself down.

Why? Because what I have learned since is that if you have to pretend to be weaker, or not as smart, or less that you are for someone to like you, you should not be around them. Regardless if you are a man or a woman, regardless if the other party is a man of a woman, the people who care about you should celebrate your strengths, not be threatened by them.

It is not my ex’s fault, it is mine in that instance. I should never have pretended to be less than I was to boost his self esteem. While I do believe it is our responsibility to be kind. compassionate and build each other up, you should not do so at your own expense. Shine as bright as you can. Those who love you, will be proud of you, they will love you even more for how smart and capable you are. Don’t worry about those who don’t.

What happened to the ex? One of the many reasons he is an ex is because he could not handle a strong woman. He needed someone he could dominate, and indeed there are plenty of women out there who want or need to be dominated. I, however am not one of them. So he went off to find a more suitable partner, as did I.

But when I think back to that relationship, I am embarrassed about how dumb and weak I was willing to pretend to be. No wonder we did not work – I was not honest with him about who I was, and that wasted time for both of us. I was so busy trying to be his “ideal partner” that I forgot part of who I was – a smart capable strong women. And when I could not fit that mold any more, the real me came out, the relationship came to an abrupt halt, because he did not know who he was in the relationship with. He had the impression that I was a person he could walk all over.

So moving forward, I know that I am a very strong woman, and I need a very strong and secure man who can deal with me.

Lean from my mistakes, and never dim your light so another can outshine you. The result is neither one of you truly shine to your potential.

How to Respect Yourself in a Relationship

Madonna sang about it and made it famous. Respect Yourself. Go for what you want and need in a relationship and don’t settle. Pop songs can rarely be applied to real life, but maybe the singer was onto something. When you are in a relationship, how do you respect yourself enough to not loose yourself? How do you know where that line is that should not be crossed?

Aside from the obvious – no physical abuse, no criminal activity – sometimes defining just how to do this can be a bit tricky, even for a feisty red-head like me. And when you really care about someone, it can be easier said than done. But basically it comes down to this: Respect yourself.

If you don;t respect yourself, then why would anyone else. No one will respect you any more than you respect yourself. Have standards. Love should not hurt and someone who loves you will not do anything to hurt you intentionally. Have pride in yourself and walk away from anyone who tears you down, makes you feel bad for wanting to be treated well, or makes you think that you do not deserve to be respected. A person who loves you will not disrespect you.

If you are in a relationship, you are going to hurt each other at some point, that is par for the course and part of the deal. Respecting yourself though is not about the occasional spat or even cross word. It is not about who left whose dirty socks on the floor or squeezed the toothpaste tube in the middle. It has to do with being treated at a certain level – as a human being. Girls, if the man you are with lies about something (like when his divorce is final), he will lie to you about other things.Respect yourself enough to not allow him to lie to you this way. Hold him accountable for not only his actions but his words, and walk.  

Forget about second and third, and 100th chances. and ut’s not your job to try to understand them or why they are mistreating you. It’s not your place to make excuses for them. You are not the jerk whisperer. Nor would you ever want to be.

If he says he loves you, then you find out that he is seeing other women, he doesn’t love you. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better. Don’t settle. Walk out the door and know that nice people, normal people, do not treat others in such a cruel and damaging way. If he balks at the fact that you have called him out on his bad behavior, if he doesn’t like you knocking on the door when you catch him cheating when another car is in his driveway or you find messages on his phone or such, then walk. You deserve better and there are too many wonderful, kind and amazing men out there to settle for someone who is so uncaring that he would let others suffer.

And some people think that if you care about or love someone, that that gives them the right to mistreat you. No it does not. No matter how much I love someone, I will not let them mistreat me. Period. And if they try to mistreat me, they will quickly see this little red-headed girl put down the law in a matter of seconds.

So chin up, and respect yourself to know that you deserve someone who treats you with kindness and caring, someone who means it when they say I love you, someone who doesn’t cherishes you and makes you feel like you are the only girl in the room. And know that, just like Calvin says, normal people do not destroy other human beings.

So what does Madonna have in common with Calvin and Hobbs? Now you know.

Unconditional Love

There is such a thing as unconditional love. And when you love someone, I have always believed that a part of them will always be in your heart. For this reason, I have always tried to end relationships on a nice note and with a hug. The fact that these two people walked the Wall of China, to meet in the middle and give each other one last hug before never seeing each other again, is beautiful. What an amazing, loving and respectful way to handle when a relationship comes to an end. Relationships never have to end in an ugly or dramatic way…but of course it takes both to make that happen.

This is such a beautiful vidoe and it will make your day.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

A Young Life Lost

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Suicide is an ugly word.  And yet it is one that we hear much too often, claiming the lives of way too many who are lost far too young.

I revieved a call from a friend of mine who told me a man I had dated once, his son committed suicide.I was shocked. She and I both had dated this man and became friend aftet she found out there had been some overlap in our dating. She called me then too, to inform me of the situation. We both dumped him, and she and I became good friends.

Last night she called with the news. I remember this little boy, may 9 or 10 back then. he had such a great smile, so very smart and would light up the room when he walked in. He was 16 when he took his own life. His father found him in the woods. My heart goes out to he and his family and to that young lost soul.

 

 

Pride, Grace and Moving

We all  must learn to ask for hlep at some point in our lives. This is a very hard thing for me. It truly hurts my prode when I find that I cannot do something myself. I. Hate. It. But I had to swallow my pride and do just that recently. My nephew will be moving in temporarily and for 2-3 months my office needs to be his bedroom. Easy enough. Except that a huge heavy desk had to be moved out of the room, into the garage and the bedroom furniture on loan from my parents moved from their van to my nephews room.

So, I swallowed my pride and asked my most recent to to please, please, please, help unload and move. This was hard for me and he did not make it easy. Why not call the man you are dating now? (He runs his own company, is not available during the day and had a family emergency). Why not just get some movers? (hmmm, it costs at least $200 to get them, and since I have 2 people moving in, I am a bit short on cash at the moment). Why not get another friends? (I don’t ask a lot of friends for help. Very few people. Ever. Pride).

The result of me swallowing my pride? The ex came over and helped, everything was moved into place. The desk is dismantled and in the garage, the bedroom furniture is where it is be and the room is ready for my nephew to move in.  And my ex and I saw each other where we were not yelling at each other.

The moral of the story? Maybe it is OK to ask for help. Maybe pride is not always a good thing. Yes, we can write it and read it all we want, but until we really know it, it does not good.

And Grace. Yes ther is that word. It is very hard to have Grace toward someone who hurt you. And he did, a lot. And I have to admit, I have been very snarky to him. I am a fiesty southern red head, and he expected me to do that which I already told him I was not capable. I told him how I would react if put in thyat situation. And true to my word, I acted just as I said I would. He was surprised got very angry. And then I was snarky. And I enjoyed being snarky. That’s the thing about being feisty, you enjoy it.

But that is not Grace. And that is not forgiveness. It is hard to forgive when you are still hurt and angry, and it is hard to be Graceful when you enjoy being feisty. But that is what I must do. After all, my ex showed more grace than I when he showed up to help, moving heavy furniture, facing my mother and sister, still smiling and moving heavy things. I could learn from him in that regard.

And my life has been so blessed with so many good and wonderful things, that I should be less pridefull and more Gracefull. I cannot, in good conscience, ask for the blessings in  my life to continue and still behave in a way that is not condusive to having Grace. And so that will bemy motivation.

Pride, Grace, and moving.

Twists and Turns In the game of Life

We all remember that game called Life…you spin the wheel, move your man and follow the directions on the space you landed. Sometimes you ended up with a lot of money, sometimes kids, sometimes lots of things. But there was never any way to know how it was going to go, no matter how you thought you had it figured out.

It is amazing to me the many twists and turns on which life takes us. One thing is for sure, it’s never boring. My life is great, however that does not mean that there are not bad moments, days or worries. There is a saying that life is what happens while you are planning. This, I have found, is so true. And there are some things for which you simply cannot plan, some things that will throw you for a loop, some things for which you just have to roll with the punches so to speak. As a woman who plans, this can be a but unnerving.

Mom and Dad will be here today for Dad’s latest chemo treatment. If this doesn’t work, the doctors are not sure what will be next. Though I have a lot of Faith that things work work out, there are still worries. There is taking care of Mom who will be just about sick with sorry so we much be strong for her.

Money will be tight for the next 2-3 weeks. Temporary cash crunches are just that, temporary. And in that amount of time I will be completely out of debt and debt free is a wonderful place. I don’t believe in using credit cards. After being in finance for so many years, I saw first-hand how easy credit has helped destroy this nation. So I don’t use credit unless I have to. But writing about easy credit and people living beyond their means could be the subject of many blog entries.

My sister and I are having a great time, but it is difficult for her being away from her family. She has been married for 25 years and they have never really been apart. I do as much as I can for her to make her feel better. And in the middle of all of it, are my Lenten Disciplines. Practicing Grace. And God has a sense of humor. I am good except with one person, my latest ex. And I just enjoy being snarky to him because he hurt me so bad. But practicing Grace means letting all of that go, and being nice. He actually accused me of only being nice to him when I needed something. No, I am trying to be nice because of Lent. But, I can only do what I can and let others think what they may.

I may need to add Pride to my list of things on which to work on for my Lenten Disciplines. I have a hard time asking for help. I have been on my own for a long time, and it hurts my pride deeply to admit I cannot do something on my own. As a result, I tend to go to the same people over and over for help, so to avoid anyone knowing that I need. But that is for another entry.

There are also more belly dance classes and photography classes for which I have signed up. There are the photo-shoots scheduled with my agent, new headshots, my book, work is crazy busy, the new relationship that we are exploring, running more and longer, learning the new iPhone, getting my nephew moved in, and a few other things.

 So life is very good, better than I ever thought, but still there are twists and turns in this journey. It is not yet the end of the second month of the year, and it has been so much more than I expected. So many things have not been planned, both good and bad.

So plan all you want, but make sure you have some room for the unexpected, because it’s coming. And really, would we want it any other way? Think of the roads which we take, the people we meet along the way, and the unplanned events that happen in our lives. The twists and turns are what make life…life.

A True Home With Love

We all have those moments when we look around and realize that our house is no longer just a house, ,but a home. It has been that kind of weekend for me. Friday nigth was a wonderful night of love, friendship, food, family and celebration.

My wonderful dear friend and one of my best ex’s came over for dinner and a movie. My sister made an amazingly delicious baked spaghetti and we all ate ourselves silly. it was delicious. and as we sat around the dinner table, in my home, we laughed, talked, ate, drank and were truly blessed and happy.

We snacked on cheese, crackers and wine before dinner, then moved to the table. It was as if I was visiting someone else life, not my own…as Iooked around and realized that my home truly was a home. Everywhere i look there is a memory of a conversation, a moment, a tear, a joke, some laughter, smiles, and…hope.

For so long, I have wanted someone with which to share my life. And now that I have so many wonderful things happening in my life, I have prayed, so hard and very sincerely, that I have someone to share all these wonderful things. Finally the struggles are over, and I have made it through those struggles alone. I have wept alone, floods of silent tears streaming down my wet cheeks. I have been frightened, scared of what the future may hold, alone.  I have held my own broken heart, in my hands, and wept for the loss of love that it has contained. And I have felt that broken heart start again, and felt it in my chest, one beat at a time.

I have pulled myself up, from the rubbled of the life never to be lived. And I have worked my ass off to be where I am now.

All of this I have done and gone through, alone.

Now, in this time when things are so wonderful, I want someone to share it with. I have paid my dues and walked in the dark alone. Now it is time to hold someones hand in the days of laughter and light.

This year, 2013, is the year of hope and dreams. Of love, light, laughter and the world being my oyster.

And the celebration of love has continued through the weekend with good food, many wonderful conversations with many good friends and good wine.

It is a beautiful life. And for all that I have and am able to share, I am forever grateful.

The Best Ex’s

Tonight I recieved a call from a very dear friend, who also happens to be on ex-boyfriend. He and I dated over 6years ago and he is a great man and has been a great friend. He was in the area and wanted to catch up over a beer. I said yes.

The next 2 hours were spent catching up, laughing and talking about what had been going on (lots to talk about there). I had to leave because dinner was being cooked for me somewhere else, but it was wonderful to see him.

This is is my New Years Eve Buddy – we have a tradition that if we are not dating anyone, we celebrate the New Year together. I come over and he grills lamb and makes his amazing shitaki mushrooms. Then a delicious dessert and lots of wine and champange. And the best part of the evening? The fact that we wear our worst, most ugly, mosts horrible pajamas. The first year we did this, I wore some flannel pajamas patterned with large yellow goldfish with Big blue eyes and red lips. The outfit was only complete when I wore my big fuzzy fish slippers (think fuzzy bunny slippers, only fish). Oh yes, I was too sexy.

In my life, I have dated some of the most wonderful men. They have been a blessing to my life, and most have remained very good friends. He, in particular, has been a wonderful friend and solid confidant. He has supported me when things were rough, kept my secrets and confessions, and explained sports to me with endless patience.

And it started me thinking, with the exception of one, maybe two men, I have the best ex’s. Most of them were great guys it with whom it just didn’t work out. But they have all had integrity and honor. They have all been kind and compassionate. And they were all very good to me. I have been blessed to have them in my life and to have most of them as friends still.